male colleagues talking about female co worker

10 Most Common Types of Workplace Discrimination

If you were thinking that workplace discrimination was limited to only a handful of specific actions, you’ll need to think again. According to experts like the EEOC and these workplace discrimination attorneys in San Francisco, discrimination can rear its head in many ways. These are ten of the most common types that you’ll need to be on the lookout for at your workplace.

A Closer Look at Discrimination Subtypes

As mentioned, discrimination can come in many forms. Ten of the most likely you’ll see in a work environment are as follows:

  1. Discrimination Based on Age: You may commonly hear this referred to as “ageism,” and it occurs when employers attempt to treat employees differently or deny potential employees simply because of their age.
  2. Discrimination Based on Gender: Sometimes discrimination takes place because of an individual’s identity as male, female, transgender, etc. It is not permissible to treat employees unfavorably because of their gender.
  3. Discrimination Based on Race/Color: Racism and prejudice based on skin color is abhorrent, and not a basis for unfavorable treatment by an employer.
  4. Discrimination Based on National Origin: When individuals are treated unfairly because they were born in a different country (or appear as if that is the case), that’s national origin discrimination. 
  5. Discrimination Based on Religion: In some cases, employers may fail to make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s traditional religious beliefs. As long as making accommodations does not excessively impact the business or other employees, then employers should reasonably allow for sincerely held beliefs and practices.
  6. Discrimination Based on Sexual Identity: Similar to gender, discriminating based on sexual identity, such as being LGBTQ, is a no go. Employers cannot fire or treat individuals unfairly for belonging to a particular sexual identity.
  7. Discrimination Based on Pregnancy/Parenthood Status: Pregnancy-based discrimination, like passing someone over for a job or firing them, is also illegal. Employers should treat pregnancy as they would any other non-permanent condition that would require some reasonable accommodations.
  8. Discrimination Based on Genetic Information: Genetic tests may reveal diseases or disorders that an individual has or is at risk of. Employers are not allowed to use this information as a basis for unfavorable treatment.
  9. Discrimination Based on Disability: If an individual is covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, employers may not treat them less favorably because of their condition. The law necessitates that employers offer reasonable accommodations for applicants, save for cases where it would cause undue hardship.
  10. Discrimination as Retaliation: Sometimes discrimination will come as retaliation for some act an employer did not like. Many employee activities are covered by EEO laws, and so it is illegal for employers to use discrimination as a means of retribution.

Discrimination may manifest in any of these forms, and when it does, employees should not have to endure a hostile or toxic work environment. If need be, filing a EEO complaint may help them get the ball rolling on formal procedures to address the matter.